A Special Supplement to the Lexington Clipper-Herald
HOW 20 10 TO
Choosing the right life insurance policy How to choose a heart center Choosing an insurance agent How to choose a pharmacy How to make your dream home a reality Selecting a contractor How to choose a university How to recycle your newspaper Preplanning your funeral Choosing implements for your compact utility tractor How to choose the right rehabilitation center How to choose an internet provider Choosing the right nursing home How to purchase crop insurance How to take charge of your health
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to choose the right life insurance policy Understanding Life Insurance Did you know over 60 percent of adult Americans have no life insurance coverage? Life insurance can be a confusing subject. Many people know they need coverage but simply don’t understand what life insurance is and how it works. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions. What type of coverage should I select? Term life insurance provides death benefit coverage for a certain period of time, typically ranging from five years to 30 years. Term life insurance generally pays a death benefit to your chosen beneficiary if you die during the specified term. Permanent life insurance provides death benefit coverage that can continue as long as you live. In addition to providing a death benefit to your beneficiary, permanent life insurance also builds cash value over time. Can I afford coverage? Both Term life and Permanent life insurance policies offer fixed or adjustable premiums. Term insurance offers the lowest initial premium and is a great solution for people with temporary needs. However, once the term period ends, the cost to renew or replace the policy can increase substantially.
Permanent insurance typically has higher initial premiums but may be more cost effective if you anticipate a lifelong need. It also offers the option of accumulating cash values. How much do I need? Undeniably, the most important consideration when choosing life insurance is making sure you are adequately insured. Life insurance proceeds can help your family with future financial needs like mortgage payments, education funding and everyday expenditures upon your death. It can also help pay immediate expenses associated with your death such as funeral costs. Use the Life insurance calculator on www.fbfs.com to estimate your needs. Then contact your Farm Bureau Financial Services agent to help you personalize a policy to fit your needs. Term or Permanent? Depending on the type of life insurance protection you select, term or permanent, your options vary. Term Life insurance is purchased for a specified period of time based on your needs. You pay a premium and, if you die during the term period, your beneficiaries are paid the amount of the policy. Often times, individuals buy term policies based on a specific funding need.
For example, you may buy a 20-year term policy to help fund your child’s education in the event you pass away. A term policy may also be a good idea if you have a large amount of debt that will need to be paid in the event of your death. Permanent Life insurance can provide lifetime protection as long as your premiums are paid. Some permanent life insurance products have guaranteed premiums that remain the same for the duration of coverage. Other permanent life policies have flexibility in premium amount as long as it’s enough to maintain coverage. As you pay premiums, your policy accumulates cash value, which grows on a tax-deferred basis. Talk with your insurance agent about appropriate life insurance options for you. He or she can help you tailor a policy to meet your needs. Set up an appointment to discuss your needs today! Tips brought to you by Chase A. Wolf, Agent with Farm Bureau Financial Services. For more information on auto, home, life, college and retirement funding products and services, call Chase Wolf at (308) 324-4000. Products offered through Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company* and Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company*/West Des Moines, IA. *Companies of Farm Bureau Financial Services
Peace of mind for life. Ensuring financial security for you and those you care about most is more important than ever. Life insurance can help provide that security, along with guarantees1 and peace of mind. Call to learn how we make it simple to help secure your family's financial future.
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Agent Name Agent Info Agent Info ChaseAgent WolfInfo
The guarantees expressed are based on the claims-paying ability of Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. Securities & services offered through EquiTrust Marketing Services, LLC+, 5400 University Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50266, 877/860-2904, Member SIPC. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company+*, Western Agricultural Insurance Company+*, Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company+*/ West Des Moines, IA. +Affiliates *Company providers of Farm Bureau Financial Services © 2010 FBL Financial Group, Inc. LI068M (2-10)
411 E Pacific Lexington, NE (308)324-4000 Auto l Home l Life l Business College l Retirement
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to choose a heart center Choosing a Heart Center Historically, heart attacks and other coronary heart diseases have been perceived as a medical problem afflicting men or the elderly. But now, statistics are showing that women are at risk for heart disease just as much as men. While we all hope we never have a need for heart care, the fact remains, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans – men and women. If a medical situation arises, you should be prepared in advance to make informed decisions regarding treatment. The Nebraska Heart Institute (NHI) originated with the desire to develop both a range of services as well as the ability to provide care to communities throughout the region. Today, NHI delivers leading-edge services to Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas through a network of offices and affiliated hospital-based clinics, enabling patients to receive timely care close to home. Quality Comes First Experienced and professionally trained physicians, nurses, technicians and
staff skilled in the area of heart care are imperative. Established in 1987, NHI offers a comprehensive range of services from preventative, diagnostic, interventional and surgical care. In addition to offices in North Platte, Grand Island, Hastings, Columbus and Lincoln, patients can receive care at the state’s only heart-exclusive hospital. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Heart Hospital has received numerous five-star ratings for the care provided to patients. Additionally, the hospital ranks in the top five percent nationally for overall cardiac care in 2010.* Your Partner in Health Care Teamwork is vital to patient care. At NHI and the Heart Hospital, physicians, nurses and technologists all play an important role in providing the right care to every patient. Taking care of the whole patient is the goal of NHI. When heart disease disrupts your life, you want the best care possible. NHI and the Heart Hospital provide the comfort in knowing the professionals caring for you are pioneers in cardiovascular medicine. *According to the 2010 annual HealthGrades rankings.
your partner p in heart h care Rick Heirigs, MD
Roque Arteaga, MD
Nebraska Heart is ranked among the Top 5% in the U.S. for Overall Cardiac Care* *According to the 2010 annual rankings
Drs. Roque Arteaga and Rick Heirigs, along side nurses, technicians and support staff at Nebraska Heart Institute provide comprehensive cardiology care throughout the region. These services are coordinated through the patient’s primary care physician and the patient’s hometown community hospital. It’s with these partners, the referring physician and hospital, that the Nebraska Heart Institute maintains a team-based approach in patient care. Joining Nebraska Heart in 2008, Dr. Arteaga provides excellence in patient care, speaking fluent Spanish when requested. Trabajando con Nebraska Heart desde el 2008. El Dr. Arteaga proporciona excelente cuidado al paceiente, hablando español fluentemente cuando es requerido. To schedule an appointment, please contact your primary care provider. Nebraska Heart Institute Great Plains Regional Medical Center Campus 1307 South Oak Street • North Platte, NE 69101 (308) 532-5522 • www.nebraskaheart.com
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
AUTO I NSURANCE ?
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H OMEOWNER ’ S I NSURANCE ?
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How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to choose an insurance agent Insurance agents and brokers can streamline your insurance purchases and become your ally if you run into insurance problems down the road. The terms “agent” and “broker” are often used interchangeably, but is there a difference? Technically, an agent sells insurance from one insurance company, while brokers represent many carriers. An independent agent” is unaffiliated with any particular insurer and represents a range of companies. GETTING STARTED Do your homework before you set foot inside an insurance agency. First, identify what you want in auto, health, home, life, business and other insurance products. Write it down. This list of features becomes the summary plan that you will give to agents and brokers in exchange for price quotes. When you are in the shopping-around stage, you can go online to get price quotes and ballpark figures for useful
comparative rates. It helps to know what costs you are facing. THE RIGHT AGENCY Look for strong service reputations and seek out testimonials from other satisfied customers. Use any contact you have in the insurance business to find out what agents are considered the most helpful. Ask how long the agency has been in business and what insurers it works with. Longstanding agencies have clout with insurers and they can be your advocate if you face a claims problem. Don’t be shy about asking for references — and following up on them. Work with insurers that are financially stable. Rating services such as Standard & Poors and A.M. Best rank insurance companies based on financial stability and performance, and good brokers will discuss with you the financial status of the insurers they work with. Often, one agency can handle all of your insurance business.
According to the Better Business Bureau, one way to save money is to insure all your automobiles with the same company or agent and to buy your homeowner’s policy or other insurance policies from the same source. Multi-policy discounts are common. Ask about longterm holder discounts. Also, ask what other services the broker offers and at what costs. Alternately, you can shop around based purely on price comparisons. If you treat insurance just as a commodity, brokers might not appreciate it, but you have the right to shop until you are satisfied. However, watch out for lowball quotes. HERE ARE SOME WORDS TO KNOW WHILE SHOPPING FOR INSURANCE: • Conditions: Explanations in the policy of your and your agent’s responsibilities. For example, how claims are
to be filed and what proofs you must submit with your claim. • Coverage: Description in the policy on specific circumstances in which you can receive benefits. • Deductible: The amount of a loss or claim you must pay before you can collect. • Premium: The cost of the insurance policy. RATINGS ARE IMPORTANT It’s also important to understand the ratings, especially in car insurance. The rating is the process by which the price of your insurance coverage is determined. States are divided into rating territories. Your insurance agent, in the case of car insurance, bases part of the price of your policy on the claims history of all the drivers it insures in your territory. Often, there are discounts related to age and household
or marital status. GET SMART According to a recent survey commissioned by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 67 percent of Americans feel they have about the right amount of insurance coverage, although only 28 percent say they understand the details of the coverage “very well.” Your state’s department of insurance can provide rate guides for both auto and homeowner’s insurance, which can help consumers shop wisely for the insurance they need. WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW Check the financial ratings of insurers. Shop around. Low price may or may not be the deciding factor. Write down what type of insurance features you want.
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to choose a pharmacy Find out if the pharmacy has any special services that they can offer you such as demonstrating a new inhaler. See if you can find a pharmacist that is easy to talk to, yet shows concern and is able to explain what you need to know as a consumer of both prescription medications and vitamin supplements. WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PHARMACY Most people taking medications visit a pharmacy monthly and should consider several factors when choosing which pharmacy to patronize. Convenience is an important issue with all of the time pressures that people feel these days. If you are unable to get to the pharmacy, the pharmacy should make sure that your prescriptions are mailed to your home or delivered to your home or work. Having the ability to open a charge account or have a credit card kept on file for charging prescriptions is a convenient feature, especially when you are on a trip or someone else is picking up the prescription for you. The pharmacy may offer special services that set them apart from other pharmacies. Other conveniences that should be taken into account include a toll-free phone number to use if you live out-of-town or are on vacation. Ordering refills over the Internet is something many progressive pharmacies now offer. With a little effort, you should be able to find a pharmacy that will be your partner in your goal of living a healthful life.
If you’re like most people, you did not choose a pharmacist, you chose a pharmacy for your medication needs. Your pharmacist is a very important part of your health care team and should be chosen carefully. In between doctor visits, your pharmacist can be an important resource for you. This is especially true if you are using multiple medications or need help with products such as blood glucose meters, asthma inhalers, or other special care items. Some key questions to ask when choosing a pharmacist include: Does the pharmacist take time to answer your questions in a manner that you understand? Does the pharmacist tell you about each new medication and explain such things as how and when to take the medication and what you can and cannot take with it? Does the pharmacist have any special training in disease management, such as a certified asthma counselor? - Does the pharmacist show concern for you and your family? Does the pharmacist recommend vitamins or supplements to take or tell you which ones you should NOT take with your prescriptions? If your current pharmacist does not meet your needs or does not take the necessary time to make sure that you understand your medications, visit other pharmacies and ask if the pharmacist has any special certifications or training.
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How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to make your dreams of owning a home a reality Don’t Let Time Run Out For You The Home Buyer Tax Credit expires April 30th! Don’t miss out on this “once in a lifetime” chance to receive up to $8,000 when you buy a home. WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE CREDIT? *First Time Home Buyers – As long as you haven’t owned your primary residence in the last three years, you are considered a first time homebuyer. The purchase contract must be WRITTEN and accepted between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. CLOSING must be before July 1, 2010. * Current Homeowners purchasing a home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, who have used the home being sold or vacated as a principal residence for five consecutive years with in the last eight years. WILL THE TAX CREDIT NEED TO BE REPAID? NO. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for 3 years or more. However, if the property is sold during this 3 year period, the full credit amount will be recouped on the sale. CALL BHA REAL ESTATE TO FIND YOUR NEW HOME AND GET ALL THE FACTS….AND UP TO $8,000.
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How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
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How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to select a contractor Most adult Americans will be involved in some type of construction project in their lives. From replacing a storm door to building a new office building and everything in between, the basics of construction are the same. Simply stated, you will pay someone to provide materials, labor and incidentals to enhance, improve or develop real property. Selecting the correct qualified contractor is a simple but important process. Firing the wrong contractor after a project has started is costly, typically belligerent and a complicated process that can cost tens of thousand of dollars. We’ve all heard the horror stories of contractors who have received a down-payment and failed to show up to do the work. Or, have started the work and then failed to finish. And, of course, the contractor who’s price is too good to be true and subsequently demands more money after starting the project. This contractor is also likely to be versed in Nebraska Lien Law and will threaten you with liens if you don’t pony up the extra cash. And, finally, the worst of the worst is the contractor that takes your money and fails to pay his subcontractors and suppliers, resulting in lien filings and can include you paying twice for work or foreclosure on your property. In a soft economy, these events are more likely to occur. So, how do you protect yourself, your home, your business and your savings from construction projects gone bad? Simply stated again, Homework. Hopefully, you are not adverse to lists and list making, because that’s going to be your primary job, (other than writing checks) from the time you interview potential contractors to putting the key in the door. Contractor selection is the first line of defense. It’s very simple to prequalify a contractor, but it takes time and takes most people to that place where comfort level or courtesy drown out good business sense. Regardless if your project is one thousand dollars or 5 million dollars, the basics are the same. Here are some suggestions for selecting a contractor: Let’s assume that you already have three or four firms in mind. 1. Meet with your prospective con-
tractor at their place of business. Look over their operation. Go ahead and judge this book by its cover and trust your instincts. 2. Visit with them about your project. Are they capable of doing the work? Are they over-qualified (read expensive) for your project? 3. Ask what projects of similar size and scope they have completed. Get a name and a phone number of past clients. 4. Can they provide drawings and professional services or do you have to hire your own architect and engineers? 5. Have they ever been sued for failure to complete a project? 6. Have they ever been sued for payment from subs and suppliers? a. Don’t get too excited if this answer is yes, but get details 7. Have they ever been assessed damages for not completing a project in time? 8. Do they use a nationally recognized suite or litigated and approved form of written contracts? 9. What subcontractors and suppliers does this contractor refuse to work with and why? 10. What measures does the contractor use to protect title of the real estate?
11. GET A LIST OF NON CLIENT REFERENCES AND CALL THEM a. The References need to include: i. The Contractors Suppliers 1. At least 3 ii. The Contractors Subcontractors 1. At least 5 iii. The Contractors Insurance Agent iv. The Contractors Banker v. The Contractors Attorney Naturally, you won’t get information from all these people. BUT a good and reputable contractor will be willing if not eager to share this information with you. At a very minimum, call the subs and suppliers. You’ll want to know how this contractor pays his bills and handles charge backs and how professionally he conducts his business. And if you are dealing with a design-build firm, you’ll need to know and will need to have a conversation with: The Contractors Architect The Contractors Engineers (All Discliplines) The Contractors Professional Liability Insurer 12. GET A LIST OF FORMER CLIENTS AND CALL THEM.
Questions may include the no-brainer stuff such as did they stay on budget and on schedule but should also include: Did this contractor communicate clearly, effectively and in a timely manner? Was the jobsite clean, safe and secure during construction? Are you satisfied with the quality of the work? Are you satisfied with the costs? Did this contractor answer your questions in a timely and helpful manner? What problems or challenges did you have during the project and how did this contractor handle them? Did this contractor hire good and reputable subs and suppliers? Do you feel the contractor listened to you and your concerns? Did the paperwork flow freely and clearly? How did this contractor handle changes to the work? Would you hire this contractor again? Why or Why not? 11. Most larger firms in the light commercial and industrial market as well as those in the high value residential will have a Contractor’s Qualification Statement or a Firm Resume. Get a copy of either. One caution, most Contractor Qualification Statements contain detailed financial and client information. A potential contractor may ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement before you get a copy, or may wait until you’ve given him intent to enter into an agreement. Either way, he should be aware of these common documents and should make them available to you in some form. Note nothing has been said about cost or schedule. That will come later. For now, we are simply qualifying a group of contractors. From the information you put together, you should have a pretty decent idea of the contractor’s ability, professionalism and financial prudence. You diligence will pay off if you have done this homework. Also it will soften the ground for future negotiations. The best defense against the gotchas is information. The next step, document preparation and bid or negotiations.
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
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How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to choose a university The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a student-centered regional hub of intellectual, cultural and artistic excellence that has been a prominent part of Nebraska’s higher education landscape for more than a century. UNK offers access to all the opportunities of a major public university: a wide variety of programs that lead to exciting careers, nationallyrenowned faculty, and a rich and diverse campus life. But what truly distinguishes UNK is its commitment to providing an outstanding education in a small and personal setting. It is a university that quickly transforms 6,500 students from across the globe into a close-knit, supportive community of friends. It is a place they will forever call “home.” Kearney, a city of 30,000, is one of the fastest-growing communities in Nebraska, with unparalleled qualityof-life advantages. Its pioneer heritage is rich. Its economy is energetic and diverse. Outstanding recreational opportunities range from traditional
outdoor pursuits–hunting, fishing, golf–to ice hockey (a U.S. Hockey League franchise), and a variety of concerts and other cultural events at local venues. An exemplary “towngown” partnership benefits both the university and the community in countless ways. Founded in 1903 by the Nebraska State Legislature, the Nebraska State Normal School began classes in September 1905. In 1921, reflecting the rapid growth in enrollment and need for teachers, the name was changed to the Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney. Then, in 1963, it became Kearney State College after comprehensive changes were made to Nebraska’s college system. On July 1, 1991, the campus joined the University of Nebraska system and became the University of Nebraska at Kearney, beginning a new era. Today, students are enrolled in UNK’s four colleges: business and technology, education, fine arts and humanities, and natural and social
sciences. Students can select from among 170 undergraduate, 25 pre-professional, and 34 graduate degree options. UNK’s record of academic achievements draws students to the campus from all 93 Nebraska counties, 47 states and 46 countries. There is on-campus housing for onethird of the student population in eight residence halls and two Greek complexes. There is also an apartment-style complex for married and nontraditional students. Offering more than 160 student organizations, enriching music and performing arts programs, a lively Intramurals program and an intercollegiate athletics program, UNK creates a diverse and enriching environment. With a 17-1 student-to-faculty ratio, UNK’s students benefit from more than 300 faculty member who are widely recognized for excellence in both scholarship and teaching. The award-winning faculty have received National Science Foundation grants, authored nationally recognized publi-
cations, and received numerous outstanding teaching, research and creative awards. They interact with students as teachers, advisers, mentors and friends. Moreover, in the last decade, the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s 235-acre campus has undergone remarkable transformation in the past decade as buildings--including the Nebraskan Student Union, College of Education building, Cushing Coliseum, the Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field, the Antelope/Nester Residential Hall Complex and the Bruner Hall of Science Complex, including a NASAfunded, state-of-the-art planetarium-have been renovated and expanded with investments totaling more than $80 million. In the end, however, what matters most at UNK is student success. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sustained academic and competitive accomplishments of UNK’s student-athletes.
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How To Guide ~ Spring 2010
How to help your community join the Green Revolution Reconnect To help green your community, you first need to be part of it. Start talking to your neighbors, find out what's going on around you, and get involved. It sounds obvious, but busy days often don't include time for keeping in touch with the community. Buy local Not only does shopping locally reduce food miles, it also keeps resources circulating in the community. Plus, it's a great way to get to know your neighbors. When did you last chat with the person who grew your tomatoes? Sites like Local Harvest in the US or Big Barn in the UK can help you locate suppliers, and farmers markets are increasing in number all the time. There may even be a city farm or community garden in your neighborhood. If there isn't, you might consider sparking one. Rethink travel Limiting car use can be an great way of reducing your individual carbon footprint, but it doesn't end there. When we walk, cycle, or take the train or bus, we also help make it easier for others to do the same, and it can be a great way of meeting people. It's much easier to catch a stranger's eye and say "hey" when you are not surrounded by a ton of metal and moving at 70 mph. You can even help others by setting up projects that support alternatives -- could you set up a car club or a walking bus to get the kids to school? Spread the word People are increasingly curious about living 'green.' If you bike to work, compost, or buy organic, tell people why. If people are interested in trying it themselves, show them how. You could even take it a step further and organize educational evenings such as film screen-
ings, workshops, or discussion groups. Or follow the lead of this project and start asking questions in your town -- if you can get people thinking about their impact, they're more likely to start looking for answers. Remember though, there's a fine line between talking and preaching, so know when it's time to drop it and get back to talking about baseball. Join in It can be lonely going it alone. Why not find out about environmental groups in your area? Many national conservation groups have local chapters -- the Sierra Club's website offers a local 'zoomer' for US residents to find out what's going on in their area. Increasingly, there are specialist local groups dedicating themselves to specific aspects of sustainability, like this owner's club for electric vehicles in Bristol, UK . But you shouldn't just think in terms of green clubs. As sustainability goes mainstream, more and more local organizations are including environmentalism as part of their focus. The Evangelical Climate Initiative is a prime example. So if you're a member of a faith group, a parentteacher committee, or even a sports club, why not look at steps that you can take together. From energy efficiency measures to local community action, there are countless ways to get your fellow club or congregation members involved. Plan for change We are never going to achieve our goals if we don't know what they are. If you can create an alternative vision or plan for your community it becomes much easier to inspire action. Check out these UK villagers' 25 year plan to reforest their valley to protect against future flooding, this North
Carolina project offering collaborative planning for walkable communities, or this community's attempts to become the greenest village in Britain. Get political National and international politics can be frustrating. How can you influence the massive institutions that wield the power? Local politics can be much less intimidating. It's a whole lot easier to make connections, exert
pressure, and get involved when you live among the people you are trying to influence. Whether you're campaigning against unwelcome development, like these LA residents campaigning to save their city farm, or seeking to influence local policy in a more positive direction, like these Portland citizens helping their city government plan for an oil-free future, it is vital that you make your voice heard. And
don't forget that environmental ills often fall disproportionately on the poor and marginalized. Check out environmental justice organizations like Environmental Community Action for ways to make your community better, greener, and fairer. Spread the love (and unwanted electronics) So you don't want that item of clothing, record, book, or printer anymore? The chances are good that someone else does. Obviously there is the usual route of donating items to your local thrift store or charity shop, but there are also resources like the trusty Freecycle, Craigslist, or Really, Really Free Markets that help match demand with the supply. If there isn't such a group in your community, there should be. Healthy competition Cooperation is great, but it's not the only way. A little friendly rivalry can get a lot done to spark community action. Sites like 18Seconds.org are playing a key role in pitting town against town in the battle to get greener. If you can't get your neighbors to change in order to save the polar bears, maybe they'll change to "beat those losers from down the road!" Keep it legal though, please... The revolution will be televised Just as local politics can be easier to influence than national, so can the local media. Regional newspapers, radio, and TV are always looking for interesting community-related stories, and as we noted here, it can be relatively easy to put a green spin on things. If local media outlets are unresponsive, it's no holds barred on the internet, so get cracking.